Japan's Kitchen

We've been running ourselves to exhaustion around the Kansai region - mostly eating and seeing things at a rapid pace. The weather has been quite warm here of late making these adventures all the more tiring. We have a couple of days remaining in Osaka where it is supposed to be raining on and off, but I think we could use the excuse to stay in or close to the hotel since its the kind of place we'd like to live.

A couple days ago we visited Kyoto. It was very much the traditional cultural experience you imagine, complete with people renting kimonos and walking around perfectly manicured gardens. We made our way to the imperial palace and a few more temples. We visited a market that was jam packed and a "touristy" street that was empty (all the fancy restaurants were closed between lunch and dinner). There was a quick stop for a drink at a craft beer & record shop that was adorable but empty making the two person bar experience a little bit awkward. Lastly there was a dinner at a Asian fusion restaurant that was just too tourist friendly for us to enjoy it. Walking out of dinner toward the train back to Osaka we couldn't help but notice how many tourists there were and how few locals could be found. I for one am glad we stayed in Osaka over Kyoto.

Osaka is known as Japan's kitchen and it is deservedly so. You can hardly cover two blocks without finding a handful of eateries from fine dining to fast food. While we try our best to go where the locals eat it can have its issues, mainly in the inability to converse cleanly. The other night we were told the place we wanted to eat was "full", there was no recourse just a friendly let-us-walk-you-out. We stopped at a sushi stall and then spent too much time finding an acceptable place to eat it (dear Japan, install more benches). We waited in a far too orderly line with local businesspeople getting lunch - there was even a diagram for how to properly move though the line. Lastly we have been enjoying our free evening drinks and snacks at the 39th floor lounge of the hotel to both save money and get some writing done.

Japan's second city was [hopefully] a good introduction before Tokyo. While I get frustrated with the bikes weaving through sidewalks here I can only imagine walking around a much larger city is going to give me fits (let's not begin to mention navigating the streets of Hanoi). The transportation here is also a real task. Commuter trains turn into subways, there are semi/limited/rapid/super express options all with different fare, and the signage in English probably displays a quarter the information it shows in Japanese. That being said we haven't run into many issues yet. We'll check back in soon with updates from the largest* city either of us have ever been to. Enjoy more photos!

Sushi to go

A local doughnut

Osaka Castle

Kyoto Brewing

Kintetsu Railways

Gion Shirakawa

Yasaka Shrine vicinity 
Kyoto Imperial Palace

*depends who you ask